South Lyon teen headed to trial for school threats on social media
(WJBK) - It started with a direct message on Snapchat just two days after the deadly school massacre in Parkland and now a South Lyon teen is heading to trial.
Ryan Debruyne, 18, is facing the charge of making a false report of terrorism and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years. Friend and fellow student Fisher Wilkes testified in court Thursday, saying Debruyne sent him a Snapchat message "out of the blue."
"I did not think it was a joke," Wilkes said.
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Prosecutors say Debruyne sent that message just two days after the school shooting in Florida last month. Wilkes's response:
"Why the f*** would you say that? That's f***ing disgusting."
Lawyers then asked how Ryan responded. Wilkes said Ryan asked him: "Why not?"
He testified that Debruyne also said something similar in a group chat and posted a photo holding guns, along with pictures and messages expressing his depression, feelings of rejection and loneliness.
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"He talked about killing himself. And what I did was try to talk him out of it," Wilkes said.
Wilkes says he stopped talking to him when police became involved.
"He asked me why I was at the police station," he said.
Lawyers asked how Wilkes responded, and he said "The right thing."
But Debrunye's defense team argued the teen has shown no signs of hurting other people.
"If the group or the individual you sent it to commonly makes those types of statements, I certainly think that the value of the statement can be diminished."
And they say despite access to a gun in his basement, he didn't appear to have plans to carry out that threat.
"He was upset, apologetic, he wouldn't do anything like that," an officer testified.
Initially given a $10 million cash bond, it was reduced to $100,000, but Debrunye cannot have access to weapons and must wear a tether if released.